When Sandy and Bob Jamison met in 1997, they were not yet aware of how connected their lives would be in the decades to come. At that time, both were working as interns at Cisco Systems — and on their way to their own perspective careers in the technology sector
“We met in college and were good friends before we started dating. After that, we started investing together,” Bob recalls. “Before we even got married, we bought investment properties together.” In the late 1990s and 2000s, both Sandy and Bob were well on their way to growing their careers in tech. Bob advanced to be a Product Manager and Sandy was negotiating billion-dollar M&A deals. Yet, both maintained an interest in real estate, and the couple continued to invest in properties as their careers and family grew.
Sandy was the first to get her real estate license, in 2004. In 2008 she received her broker’s license but continued working in real estate part-time through 2010. “When I took maternity leave, I began to focus more on my business,” Sandy recalls. “I realized I needed to follow my passion for real estate. I’ve never looked back.” As Sandy grew her business, Bob joined her. He was licensed in 2008 and continued to work as an engineer full time until May 2018. Through all of those years, Bob worked in real estate part-time, helping Sandy with her clients, her team, and eventually, her brokerage, Tuscana Properties. By 2018, Tuscana Properties was calling for Bob’s full attention. “She had been trying to get me to leave IBM for a long time to focus on our own business,” Bob says. “The business had grown really well, but we were bumping up against a ceiling. We were at $40-50 million in volume and couldn’t get past that ceiling.” Bob took his skills in management and applied them to his work in real estate with great results. Since Bob has joined the team full-time, business is up about 40%, and the team has grown to include five assistants and nine real estate agents.
“We really work well together,” Sandy smiles.
FINDING THEIR GROOVE
One of the reasons that Sandy and Bob have found such great success in business together is their willingness to divide out the work. They recognize that their skill sets are different, and by leveraging them, they put themselves at a competitive advantage. “It’s important to figure out which skills each person is good at and let them own that,” Bob explains. “We’re not stepping on each other’s toes,” Sandy adds. “If something comes up in his domain, I send it to him to handle.” “There’s trust when working with your spouse. You don’t have to worry they’re trying to gain something over you. Whatever I make is half his, and vice versa. We celebrate all of our successes together and root for each other. It’s all ‘we.’ We sell houses together. Together it’s our success.” Although he does sell, Bob continues to handle the lion’s share of the managerial and operations duties, while Sandy is on the front line selling and leading the creative side of the business. “Two minds are always better than one,” Sandy says. “When issues arise, we can brainstorm on the best way to handle it. And we can manage different clients’ personalities better.”
WORK/LIFE: FINDING BALANCE
Admittedly, the hardest thing about being partners in life and in business is drawing the line between the two. With two young children at home — Jett (9) and Austin (4) — Sandy and Bob have to find ways to shut off their business minds to focus on their children. “The hardest thing is turning the business off. Work never ends,” Bob says. “When you work with your spouse in real estate,” Sandy adds, “everyone knows you are working seven days a week. Everyone expects you to answer your phone. It’s hard to shut that off. Clients expect us to be reachable. That’s the challenge; you can never escape it.”
While striking balance is a challenge, Sandy and Bob have always been the type that’s up for a good test. Together, they’ve proven that they’re capable of overcoming any obstacle. Recently, Sandy and Bob have hired additional assistants and have started delegating more work. They are passing more business opportunities along to their team — which not only frees up time but allows their team to be more successful. “We have to bring more people on and trust them,” Sandy says.
INTO THE FUTURE
“The future looks really strong,” Sandy says with a smile. In 2020, Sandy has taken on the role of President of the Santa Clara County Association of Realtors®. “It’s very optimistic,” Bob continues. “I have no concerns about our future in real estate and the Silicon Valley.” “We’re both good problem solvers, and while the market is changing, we can adapt quickly. Every change in the market is an opportunity for us. How can we take that opportunity and help our clients? We believe if we are helping our clients exceed their goals, even in a shifting market, we’ll be successful.”